The Use Of Social Media In Online Training: Benefits And Drawbacks

The Use Of Social Media In Online Training: Benefits And Drawbacks
Summary: Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites have become part of our everyday lives. But are they a welcome addition to your online training program? In this article, I'll highlight the benefits and drawbacks of using social media in online training.

How To Use Social Media In Online Training

Most of us use social networking sites to catch up with friends, read the latest news, and share life events. However, an increasing number of organizations are now turning to social media for online training. For example, encouraging employees to network with industry experts in order to upskill. If you're thinking about adding social media to your online training program, then you're in luck. In this article, I'll explore the top 5 advantages of using social media in online training and I'll also share 4 notable drawbacks that you should consider before taking the leap.

5 Benefits Of Using Social Media In Online Training

1. Improves Online Collaboration.

Geographically dispersed employees aren't able to interact with their colleagues in the real world. This makes it difficult to benefit from their experience and professional expertise. However, social media allows them to collaborate and communicate without any limitations. They can post informative links, share tips, and work together on team projects. Video conferencing tools even give them the opportunity to host virtual meetings where they can discuss important topics. Throw Project Management tools into the mix, and you have a powerful online collaboration strategy.

2. Employees Have Access To Round-The-Clock Support.

Employees need access to information 24/7, not just during office hours. Social media offers them the chance to research topics and tasks whenever, wherever. They have access to industry professionals who can help them expand their knowledge and build skills. Employees also have the power to provide tips, tricks, and advice to their peers. In short, using social media in online training opens up a world of possibilities for your employees, especially when it comes to peer-based feedback and support.

3. Keeps Employees Up-To-Date.

Social media keeps employees up-to-date with the latest online training and company news. Organizations can post event reminders, new online training course notifications, and changes to company policy. They also have the ability to share online resources, such as multimedia links to broaden employees' understanding. As an example, YouTube tutorials that improve task proficiency or podcasts that cover compliance topics. For best results, start a corporate eLearning blog or social media group to centralize your communications.

4. Facilitates Ongoing Online Training Feedback.

In addition to tips and valuable advice, co-workers also have the opportunity to give and receive feedback. Employees are able to post their ideas or even upload online training projects for peer review. Their colleagues can spot strengths and recommend improvements. Just make sure to set some ground rules so that everyone benefits from the online training experience. For example, create netiquette guidelines to avoid online conflicts.

5. Increases Employee Motivation And Engagement.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn cater to our social nature. Employees get to interact with peers and work collaboratively to solve problems. Online support, advice, and feedback all helps boost their motivation and engagement. As a result, they are more likely to actively participate in the online training process. Social media can even cultivate a sense of community, which makes employees feel like they are part of something bigger.

4 Drawbacks Of Using Social Media In Online Training

1. Social Media Becomes A Distraction.

The number one reason why organizations are hesitant about social media is misuse. Let's face it, social media can be a major distraction. You have every intention of researching important topics and looking up tips, then you end up chatting with friends. Or you may not be able to resist your favorite app or game. Before you know it, an hour has passed and you haven't done any research. The good news is that your organization can create guidelines to keep employees on track. First and foremost, you must hold employees accountable. Incorporate social media activities into your online training strategy and follow-up with an online assessment. For instance, ask employees to interview an expert or focus on a specific training topic. Then quiz them after the fact to gauge their understanding and progress.

2. Online Learning Communities Require Time And Resources.

Creating and maintaining social media groups, corporate eLearning blogs, and forums is time consuming. Managers and corporate trainers must monitor these social media platforms, which requires payroll hours. After all, online learning communities don't run themselves. One of the most effective ways to cut costs is to limit the number of social media platforms you use and opt for low-maintenance options. For example, Facebook features groups and a variety of built-in online tools, such as calendars and polls. Appoint someone to post on a weekly basis to keep the discussion flowing. This individual can also monitor the page and share valuable resources.

3. Exposure To Excessive Information May Contribute To Cognitive Overload.

Social media's strength is that it facilitates knowledge sharing. That also happens to be one of its drawbacks. Employees are exposed to large quantities of information at once, which can lead to cognitive overload. They may be unable to focus on one topic or task because there's a constant flow of data. Once again, asking employees to concentrate on a specific research topic can prevent cognitive overwhelm. Ask them a targeted question or create a prompt that centers their thoughts.

4. Online Behavior May Compromise Your Brand Image.

Your organization works hard to maintain its online reputation. As such, you don't need employees behaving badly on social media and tarnishing your image. Bear in mind that everything your employees post on social networking sites is visible to the public. The exception being closed groups and online forums. However, employees will uphold your brand image if they know what's at stake. Stress the importance of proper online etiquette and create a strong sense of corporate culture. Employees who are proud to be part of the organization are more likely to become brand advocates.

Social media can be a powerful online training resource, when used correctly. Online training guidelines and employee accountability can help to counteract the drawbacks. Use these benefits and consider the drawbacks to successfully integrate social networking sites into your corporate eLearning strategy.

Do you need more tips to increase collaboration in your corporate eLearning program? Read the article Personal Learning Networks: All eLearning Pros Need To Know to discover benefits and tips to cultivate an effective and thriving Personal Learning Network for your eLearning course.